Death of a Dutch musical legend

Death of a Dutch musical legend


norman lebrecht

March 04, 2017

The jazz pianist and composer Misha Mengelberg died on March 3, aged 81.

A great nephew of the Concertgebouw conductor Willem Mengelberg, Misha was born in Ukraine, where his father was a conductor. The family returned to Holland in the late 1930s. After music studies in The Hague, in 1967 he founded the Instant Composers Pool to promote avant-garde jazz elements. Two years later he co-founded STEIM to support electronic composers.

On record and on tour, he enjoyed international acclaim.


  • Ungeheuer says:

    Sorry to learn this. Had no idea the great Mengelberg had any living relatives, let alone musician relatives.

  • John Borstlap says:

    MM belonged to the small group of self-appointed avantgardists in Holland in the sixties who claimed the future of music against what happened in the Concertgebouw, where they disrupted a scandalously reactionary flute concerto by Quantz which was used by the bourgeois elites to protect their privileges and to prevent the proletariat of sharing cultural celebrations. Soon after, this group claimed lots of money from a left-wing government which they destributed among themselves, with the aim to support the music of the future, but which led to continuous in-fighting and defining and redefining of party lines, quallerring about what would be the best way to liberate the masses from elitist suppression. Freud would have had a lot to say about MM.